After the defeat against rivals Mexico only a few days before, the United States of America were looking to come into Tuesday's match up against Costa Rica with more self-belief and a willingness to brush away the doubts festering around the camp right now. That was not the case. Instead, Los Ticos exposed the lack of belief and organization that has become a regular issue for the US with a resounding 4-0 victory in front of a vociferous Estadio Nacional crowd.
The last time the US suffered a defeat that heavy was against one of the world's soccer superpowers, Argentina, during the Copa America Centenario but no one would have predicted minnows Costa Rica being able to do the same against the US. It has now left Jurgen Klinsmann in a precarious position and the calls for the end of his tenure have now become much louder.
Klinsmann's takes full responsibility in post game comments
Speaking to reporters after the game, one of those being MLSSoccer.com's Miguel Krumholtz, Klinsmann spoke of his disappoint in the result and what it could mean for his near future job prospects.
Klinsmann stated that the defeat was one that "hurts the most" in his five years as the US head coach and that he took full responsibility for what had transpired on Tuesday night. Klinsmann felt that his team "had some chances" but that the goal just before half-time gave the team a "psychological knock". The head coach felt that it was not the system that hurt the team but it was about the lack of "willingness to fight back" and that after the second goal, his players did not have the "power or drive" to get themselves back into the match.
After being questioned on whether or not he felt he was the right person to turn things around Klinsmann felt that the media's comments were "part of the job" and that he still felt like he was the right man at this time to bring the US back into contention for a place at the next World Cup. This will not be an easy task as no other team from the Hex that has lost their first two matches has managed to qualify for the World Cup.
'Brooks not to blame' says Klinsmann
After a shambolic performance by the US backline which saw the Costa Ricans score three second half goals in ten minutes, many looked at defender John Brooks as the main culprit and for the Joel Campbell goal in the 89th minute, Brooks was certainly at fault. He was also involved in the lack of defensive shape for the other goals scored on the night and Campbell and Johan Venegas, in particular, made this a difficult night out for Brooks. Klinsmann backed his player, saying that it would be "too easy to blame him" for all the mistakes that led to such a poor showing from the US. Klinsmann is not entirely wrong as Omar Gonzalez and Timmy Chandler also had performances to forget against Costa Rica.
Klinsmann's tactics did not help his defenders, or his team overall. Against Mexico, the US tried a new 3-5-2 formation before reverting back to a 4-4-2 midway through the match and against Costa Rica, the visitors stayed in their 4-4-2 formation. The chopping and changing of formations with so little time in between will not helped the team prepare for their opponents well enough and even in a familiar formation, the lack of confidence currently residing with the USMNT was exposed as Costa Rica found gaps to exploit time and time again. They did so, to devastating effect.
Quotes via MLSSoccer.com